If you’ve visited Puerto Vallarta before, chances are you’ve paid a visit to the iconic Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Known as la Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe to locals, this astounding parish is found just a block from the city’s famous Malecón boardwalk and is recognized as one of the most important structures in Banderas Bay.
While the church makes for a great photo souvenir and Instagram worthy backdrop, it is actually the spiritual center for the local catholic community. Weddings are hosted at the Puerto Vallarta church almost daily, and at different times of the year – especially nearing Christmas – you have an opportunity to experience all kinds of traditional Mexican rituals and ceremonies outside the church’s doors.
The Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Puerto Vallarta holds a lot of Puerto Vallarta history within its walls and is a unique structure in the city for a variety of reasons. For one, its various building styles could be argued to symbolize the different stages that Vallarta has gone through in its evolution from town to city. Upon visiting the church, you’ll can see and distinguish it’s neoclassical building style in the main chapel and renaissance style towers above.
While initially there was a small rustic chapel built where the parish stands today, the official building foundations were laid in 1903. However, in 1915 Father Francisco Ayala had the structure demolished and established plans to build a stronger foundation for a bigger structure. The first mass and official opening date was on October 12, 1921.
While the parish had begun mass and was a functioning religious pillar in the community, there was a halt in construction due to the Cristero War until 1929. The main tower was finished in 1955, but the famous crown wasn’t placed on the tower until 1963.
Truth be told, the facade and lower towers weren’t finished until 1987. It took almost 84 years for the church to go from rustic chapel to the astounding Puerto Vallarta icon we all know and love today.
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